Published 17/04/2010 | 05:00
"I came out to three of my friends when I was 14," says 17-year old Zoe Galvin from Co Waterford. "My best friend was a bit weird at first, but after about two days she was like, 'We still love you'."
Zoe's experience of coming out has been generally very positive. Not only have her friends and classmates been supportive, but so too have the teachers at her convent school. "They're all lovely and they all know I'm gay."
Of course, telling friends is one thing; telling parents is another. Zoe's father initially said it must be just a phase, although her mother accepted the truth straight away.
Now, however, her parents are both so supportive of their daughter that they agreed to be interviewed in the documentary.
Zoe is still close to her straight school friends, who often ask her what it's like to go out with another girl. "They're really curious about it, but not in an obnoxious way."
But she realised that she also needed friends who were in the same situation as herself. "Sometimes I kind of felt odd with straight friends, because they're with fellas and you're just sitting there thinking, 'I need a gay friend!' But now thanks to ChillOUT [a group for young LGBT people in Waterford] I have loads of gay friends."
Zoe wishes there were more positive representations of young gay women on TV. More positive role models, she believes, can make a difference, especially to young people who are afraid to come out. She hopes that Growing Up Gay will help them.
"When you first come out you feel scared in case everyone is going to disown you. But if you hear other people's stories, you wouldn't be as scared. I think it's wrong for people to be scared -- being gay is not a disease."